Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Emmet Sheehan shines as Dodgers beat stumbling Giants

Must read

LOS ANGELES — If Emmet Sheehan is going to make the Dodgers’ postseason roster, it wouldn’t hurt his case to keep facing the San Francisco Giants.

Back in June, Sheehan threw six hitless innings in his major-league debut against the Giants. Facing them again Thursday night, Sheehan struck out eight of the first 10 batters he faced and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before losing touch with the strike zone, hitting a batter and walking three in a row.

Joc Pederson broke up the no-hitter with a solo home run in the sixth off Alex Vesia, but the Dodgers went on to beat the Giants, 7-2, for their sixth win in the past seven games.

“We’re trying to win ballgames,” Chris Taylor said of the Dodgers’ post-clinch agenda. “You can’t turn it off and turn it on. It’s the same objective every night. It doesn’t change just because we clinched.”

The agenda is slightly different for rookie pitchers like Sheehan, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone as they try to show their readiness for an October role.

Sheehan certainly did that with his first four innings Thursday.

“He was fantastic tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought from Pitch One, the conviction, the fastball had true life to it. All the secondaries – the slider, the changeup down below. I thought him and Will (Smith) mixed really well.

“I think when he got to that fight inning, there was a little running low in the tank. So I think a little bit of close misses.”

Sheehan’s walk on the wild side in the fifth inning started when he hit Mike Yastrzemski with an 0-and-1 pitch. That came on the rookie right-hander’s 73rd pitch of the night. He hadn’t thrown more than 76 in a game since July.

But he threw 23 pitches to the next three batters – with a visit from pitching coach Mark Prior thrown in – and walked all three, getting two strikes on each but failing to finish them off. The third consecutive walk forced in a run and forced Roberts to pull a pitcher with a no-hitter going (in the fifth inning or later) for the seventh time in his eight seasons as Dodgers manager. Sheehan became the first pitcher to have it happen to him twice – that major-league debut in June and again Thursday night.

“Just keep attacking, go right at these guys,” Sheehan said of his mindset as things got away from him. “Couple long counts that didn’t go my way. But I wouldn’t change it.”

Despite the finish to his outing, Sheehan is likely already cemented in the Dodgers’ “It takes a village” approach to postseason pitching this year – as a ‘bulk’ pitcher in a bullpen game or ‘piggybacking’ with another starter.

In 16 innings this month, Sheehan has allowed six runs (five in one outing against the Washington Nationals) on 10 hits and four walks while striking out 24 (including a career-high nine Thursday). In his previous outing, Sheehan followed Clayton Kershaw and pitched three scoreless innings in the division title-clinching win at Seattle.

“He’s right there in the conversation,” Roberts said. “He does something different in the sense that, I think in the organization he’s probably got one of the top fastballs in all of our organization and on this team. It’s just something different. He gets righties and lefties out. He’s unique.

“He’s doing his part and kind of handling himself in big spots and big innings against good opponents and so, yeah, to your question, he’s right there at the top of the conversation.”

Pederson broke up the no-hitter and tied the score with his 430-foot shot in the sixth inning, but the Giants were their own worst enemies after that.

In the bottom of the sixth, they gifted the Dodgers the go-ahead run. Center fielder Tyler Fitzgerald (making his major-league debut) made a diving attempt on Will Smith’s drive in the right-center gap. The ball went off his glove for a triple. J.D. Martinez lofted a routine fly ball to mid-range right field that Mike Yastrzemski caught nonchalantly – either forgetting that was only the second out of the inning or not expecting Smith to tag. Smith did tag and scored easily on Yastrzemski’s belated throw.

That gave the Dodgers the lead. They padded it in the seventh and eighth innings.

In the seventh, an error by third baseman J.D. Davis opened the door for two runs to score on wild pitches.

In the eighth, Martinez added his third RBI of the night when he drove in Freddie Freeman with a single in the eighth. Martinez had his fourth home run in four games and is 17 for 44 (.386) with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 12 games since returning from the injured list earlier this month.

More articles

Latest article